green oil, by Sergio Russo / / CC BY-SA 2.0

Department of Interior Exceeds 1 Billion Barrels on Public Lands

The United States Department of Interior reports that during fiscal year 2019, the US produced one billion barrels of oil on federal public lands for the first time in history.

On Tuesday, February 11, the Department of Interior announced a historic event. During fiscal year 2019 — the period beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2019 — the barrels of oil produced on federal and American Indian-owned land surpassed one billion barrels for the first time in history. The benchmark represents a nearly 30 percent increase from the end of fiscal year 2016, another indicator of the aggressive economic expansion overseen by the current administration.

Beaucoup Bucks

For the average American taxpayer, the billion-barrel milestone represents a huge economic boom. First, the tax income from federal lands will total about $12 billion. That makes oil and gas the second-highest generator of tax revenue behind income tax. It stands to reason that the more income the federal government takes in, the less it needs to charge its citizens.

What’s more, the oil and gas windfall will see more than $1 billion returned directly to Native American tribes. That’s almost twice as much as those same members saw in 2016.

More Than Just Money

The surge in popularity among oil and natural gas as a source of energy in the previous year represents more than just an economic gain. In 2019, the adoption of natural gas contributed to a 10 percent drop in emissions from the US power sector. That number represents the single largest year-over-year drop in decades.

If the benefit of fighting climate change isn’t enough, there’s more. A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that the drop in heating costs resulting from the shale gas revolution encouraged families to use their heat more during the winter. That ability to provide extra warmth helped save as many as 11,000 people each year beginning in the late 2000s. 

Powering Prosperity

Over the coming election year, much will be made about the impact of the oil and gas revolution that has secured American success on so many fronts. While some will point to oil as a leading cause of climate change, for example, the facts illustrate the positive benefits of the shale explosion and the oil boom. 

Lower taxes, lower emissions, fewer deaths. That’s the real benefit of oil and gas, and that’s the reason the billion-barrel milestone should be celebrated for the genuine accomplishment it is.

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